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Secret Designs

By´╝ÜMiranda P. Charles

CHAPTER ONE





Arielle Mitchell shook her head, unable to believe the passionate woman who had been unleashed last night. Was that really her? She'd never been that responsive, energetic, or—okay—damned horny with anyone else before. If she hadn't known Dylan Summers beforehand, she might even suspect he had put an aphrodisiac in her drink or something.

Well, come to think of it, she really didn't know Dylan. She'd only met him once before, when her friend Jasmine Allen pleaded with her to accompany her to his birthday party six weeks ago. They only stayed for fifteen minutes, so she hadn't even talked to him that much.

Yes, Dylan could very well be someone who would put an aphrodisiac in a woman's drink. What else could have made her so lustful last night?

She snorted at her ridiculous thoughts. Don't blame someone else for your wild and wanton ways, Ari!

Okay, then. The truth was Dylan turned her on—really turned her on; turned her on enough that she found herself doing things she'd never done before.

"Hi, Ari!"

Ari jumped at the sound of Jasmine's voice on the other end of the line.

Oh, right. She'd almost forgotten the phone against her ear—almost forgotten that she'd called Jasmine. To confess. Geez.

"Hi, Jaz," she responded. "Am I calling too early? Am I disturbing you guys?" She grimaced at the thought that Jasmine's boyfriend Kane might be listening in on their conversation.

"No, it's fine," Jasmine answered. "Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, yeah, everything's okay," she replied, trying to sound casual. "I just want to tell you something before you hear it from someone else."

"Okay."

Ari inhaled deeply, then spilled it out. "Last night when I went out with my workmates for Friday night drinks, I bumped into Dylan, Kane's brother. And, uh...well...I slept with him."

"What?" Jasmine asked in surprise.

"It was just a one-night stand," she explained hastily. "We're both very clear on that and we're both okay with it. I wanted to tell you because I'm not very good at keeping these things to myself. And it was already starting to bother me that you might hear it first from Dylan or one of his friends instead of me."

"Okay," Jasmine responded, still shocked from the news.

"You're fine with it, right, Jaz? And Kane would be okay with it, too?" she asked worriedly.

"Of course. As long as you and Dylan are okay with it."

"Yes, definitely. Like I said, we're both very clear it was just a one-night stand and we're both totally fine with that," she replied, feeling the need to repeat herself.

"Then there's no problem," Jasmine stated.

"Good. Well, I'll let you go. Please let Kane know what I just told you. I'll see you in a few days."

"Okay. Bye."

Ari placed the phone down on her coffee table with a relieved sigh, glad that was out of the way. She stood up from the sofa and stretched. As she walked to the kitchen, the stiffness of her muscles and the delicious soreness between her legs made her blush. Unbidden, her recent physical exertions played back again in her head. Where the hell was the stop button for her memory banks?

Enough already, she berated herself as desire continued to unfurl within her.

"It was just a one-night stand, Ari," she said out loud as she poured granola, then milk, in a bowl. "Forget about him. It won't happen again. It can't happen again."

She plonked in a chair with a heavy exhale and knew it wouldn't be easy to push away the last ten hours from her memory. The image of a gorgeous, dark-haired, blue-eyed guy with a seriously hot, muscular body loomed large in her thoughts. Dylan Summers was way too hot to be forgotten quickly—especially when he'd just given her the best night of sex in her life.

She propped an elbow on her dining table and rested her chin on her hand, breakfast forgotten. She'd only had three hours sleep. She was tired, but if Dylan were still around she would be keen for more sex. Goodness, wasn't she the one who instigated the last round after they woke up? Well, she'd had to. She wouldn't have another chance. Dylan had only agreed to a one-night stand.

Last night was meant to be about celebrating the end of a busy week with her workmates in one of Sydney's popular nightspots. She didn't go with the intention of hooking up with someone. But how was she to know her ex-boyfriend would be there, too? With the woman she had once considered a good friend? The same woman she'd caught in bed with him while they were still together?

That had called for a third glass of wine. Two was her usual limit. Anything more than that and her good judgment went out like a light.

Dylan saw her first. He and his two friends had approached their group. Somehow the two of them had ended up in a corner talking and flirting with each other for close to an hour. She couldn't even remember ordering a fourth drink, but she must have had one, because her good judgment went comatose on her while she was still wide awake.

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